After much consideration and a lot of back and forth, we’re doing it: I’m dropping our Organic Certification.

We are not changing anything about our growing practices. We will continue to focus on building sustainable, healthy soil and food. Here is what we know:

Healthy soil = healthy food = healthy humans

This truth guides our farming philosophy. It is also one of the main underpinnings of the Organic movement. Because of this we naturally decided to go for the USDA Certification—it makes sense to get credit for that which we were already planning to do and as such, we have maintained our Organic Certification for the last 4 years.

But here’s the thing, the certification process is a big pain in the a** and I’m tired of it. The paperwork and the restrictions are such that it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. I want to be able to buy straw mulch from our neighbor who I trust without having the fill out a bunch of forms and convince said skeptical neighbor to sign something that comes from the “government”. I want to be able to raise blackberries from root stock that my father has raised without worrying that their presence in our field will mess up our certification. I want to share a tiller with our neighbor without filling out a “cleaning report” because his land isn’t certified. I want to try new things that haven’t made it through the Certification hoops yet, like biodegradable plastic mulch. And this is just the tip of the iceberg… there are a million small decisions that, while not impossible to square with Organic Certification process, are made much more difficult as a result of the paperwork and the additional costs. Frankly, it just doesn’t seem worth it.

You all are our community; you know us, and you’ve been eating with us for years. This is me telling you our food will be just as delicious, clean, and healthy as always. We’re just dropping the label.

If you have any questions or concerns, come talk to us this summer and we’ll tell you all about it! I have so many thoughts on the subject you’ll may end up wishing you’d never asked :).

In the meantime, enjoy the (un)certified organic deliciousness!



The rumors are true... I'm pregnant!

What is it like to farm while pregnant? Exhausting. Exhilarating, surprising, hard, inspiring, overwhelming... Exhausting. 

Five years ago (really, five?!?) I turned my life upside down, dumped my bourgeoning career and all visions of a "high-powered" life-style in favor of a vague idea about a thriving small business, a loving partner, and a baby in my belly. When I left San Francisco with this strange, idealized fairy-tale in mind I didn't really believe that I could achieve such a thing. I certainly had no real concept of what it would take to get here. But, somehow, there was this strong guttural pull dragging me back east and grounding me firmly in this unforgiving clay dirt.

Now that I'm here, rubbing my ever-growing, round belly, I still can't quite believe my good fortune. Lord knows I'm terrible at recognizing, and appreciating it adequately. All I see are problems—weeds, bugs, poor production, pain, global inequities; who on earth are we to be so arrogant as to want to bring an unsuspecting, innocent being into this crazy, mean world? I have so many doubts and countless anxieties. I worry, and fear, and I think pregnancy hormones make me even more depressive than usual. But Alex, the most under-appreciated gift in my life, with his boundless enthusiasm, overflowing optimism, and pure sweetness of nature, is the one who reminds me to look up and smell the roses. Regardless of the countless ills of the world and all that we cannot control, we are actually building a sweet, sustainable life, rooted in family and community. I am in some small way realizing the opaque fairytale I dreamed up five years ago. It turns out I have always wanted to bring a child into just such a space as this. It's incredible. Here I am, 20 weeks pregnant, halfway to motherhood. 


So, what is it like to farm while pregnant? It's hard, really hard, harder than anything else I've ever tried to do. But, it is also easier then I feared. Frankly, I was (and, in a lot of ways, still am) terrified of losing control of my body—my ultimate tool, the instrument of my livelihood. So far I've been lucky. I didn't suffer months of debilitating morning sickness, I haven't had any major aversions to food (except eggs...whomp, whomp), and I haven't had to slow down too much... yet.

The heat and stress of farming are definitely taxing, and the sheer exhaustion of growing another human is stunning, but I really do feel lucky. I feel strong and capable, proud and impressed that my body can do this incredible magic trick. It's an alien experience. I don't feel like I should get any credit for what is happening to me, it's certainly not in my control. It seems like my job is simply to endure, put one foot in front of the other, eat, eat some more, sleep any moment that I'm not working, and try (harder than I ever have before) to maintain some perspective. I am doing the best that I can. I am only human. Some things are going to fall behind this year. It doesn't have to be perfect. We are doing great. We will make it through this season and we will continue to get better as farmers, partners, community members, and citizens. This is a good place to raise a child and we can be good parents.



PS—for all you nosy friends: baby is due November 3rd. Yes, it was planned. Yes, we probably will get married someday, but it's not a high priority—we love each other and plan to stick together forever. No, we don't know whether the baby will identify as a boy or a girl (or something in between), we like surprises and are excited to meet our little human whenever and however they come out.    


The new online store!

Technology... the best and the worst of the modern age! Our customizable, completely flexible, online-based farm share program is the core of our business model. It's been very popular—we've had a waiting list since the first year. I love the easy access our online store gives our customers and the way it opens up our farm to our community. 

BUT there are a some things that we don't love about the online store... to date we've been operating the farm store through Small Farm Central. This is a software system built for farmers. It's great, it does a lot of things well, and it has allowed us to grow to where we are today. Unfortunately, Small Farm Central is not prioritizing their e-commerce platform (the part we use). They have told us they are focusing on growing their company in a different direction, and we can feel it! The site is outdated, the back-end components (the parts you don't see) are clunky and hard to work with. Many of the issues you all have faced (missing the dreaded confirmation button, struggling to update your balance, getting lost between "accounts" and "balances" etc.) are things the company has said they will not be fixing. 

As a result, I've been on the hunt for a new software system for the last few years. This year, I think I've found one. We're moving the farm share program to a full e-commerce platform (as opposed to a farm-specific CSA software model). It's not perfect; our program is very unique and doesn't mold easily into more standard online business models. But it does have some real advantages that I think will benefit us on the back-end and our farm share members on the front-end. 


  • Room for growth. The new platform is very flexible. It has no limit on customer accounts, products, photos, sales methods etc.. So should we continue to expand our offerings and even potentially expand the definition of our farm share program, this software will help us do so rather then hold us back. 
  • Aesthetics. It's a very pretty site :). The old software looks like it was built in the 1980's and doesn't seem to be changing. I love the new look and feel of this site and all of the room for adding beautiful images and products! 
  • Easy to Use. Three clicks and your order is placed! I really don't think anyone can mess up an order with this site. If anything goes wrong, it will be my fault and I'll be able to fix it (hopefully :). 


  • The learning curve.... I had to learn a lot more about coding with this system and I'm still learning. Because the software is more sophisticated and has so much more room for growth, it also has a different, much more complicated code—it's like learning a new language. So, I think I'm pretty up-to-speed, but I think it could take a few weeks of ordering before we work out all of the kinks on my end. 
  • Change. There is always risk in moving to a new system. Old habits die hard. I have a lot of ingrown patterns based around the old software and it is going to take some time to adjust our planning, harvest, and packing methods to match the system. 

Overall I'm excited. I think this is a good move for us and it's certainly something I've wanted for a long time. We'll keep you posted, but here's to a new year and a new chapter! 



You know Alex—he's the big, warm, heart of this farm. He's my partner in life and now... he's my partner in business :). 


Alex has been living on and contributing to the farm for the last two years, but as of this month he is working here full-time as well.  

This is a big step for us. I think it would be a big step for anyone, but adding on all of the peculiarities of farm life and the delicate intricacies of working and living with your family/in-laws, it feels like an especially big move.

It's both exciting and intimidating to embrace partnership to this level—it's honestly something I've always wanted but was never sure I would be able to achieve. As you may have noticed, I'm something of a control freak. I'm very particular about how things are done, and my expectations can be let's say.... sometimes a tad high. But, coming around to the idea of sharing my business—my baby, my pride-and-joy, my obsession, my vocation—with Alex has been surprisingly liberating. Alex has become so fully the center of my life over the years, now that we're here, at this juncture, it feels natural, freeing, exciting. Alex is such a strong person, he holds me up through all of the stress of entrepreneurship. He is soooo optimistic and positive that he provides a natural (and essential) balance to my more grim outlook. We have very different attributes, and this can sometimes be a source of conflict, but overall I think it is an incredible strength—we add to each other in a million small ways and I know I am better at everything I do because of him. It's not going to be peaches and roses all of the time, but I am genuinely optimistic and quite confident that we are a great team and our lives are enriched by living this farm life together. 

So what does all of this partnership talk really mean? Basically, you will see a lot more of Alex. He will be running our wholesale deliveries and sharing the market duties. He is managing our growing animal projects and he is learning the ropes of the larger family farm operation. He will be working a lot with my father, learning to run equipment, make hay, repair and build fences/barns, houses etc. 

We're taking a risk, financially and emotionally. We're betting on the strength of our farm, our partnership, and our community. And, I don't know about you... but think it's a great bet :).  


We're winning!

It has been way too long since I've cracked open the blog... In fact, the last post is from mid-July. The farm was chaotic, stressful, and overwhelming—shocking, it was July! 

Now, it's the end of October, and we're about to complete our third successful year as market farmers. SO much has happened! We've come a long, long way over the last three years and we've come a super long way even just since July. 

I find market farming to be a fascinating business to study and learn from because it is so seasonal. It is intense and contained in very clear cycles. Every year regular seasonal patterns emerge more clearly—February is cold, short, and full of silent days in the greenhouse, seeding and dreaming of spring. April is busy and exciting, full of new (often ill-advised) projects building toward the main season. June, July, and August are the hard months. Everything about those three months is intense and challenging; crops are waiting to be harvested everywhere, weeds consume entire fields overnight, the bugs and disease are thick—the whole job really feels impossible. Then September comes around (finally!) and we start the gradual process of rolling down the proverbial farm hill; the air suddenly starts to clear, we start to catch up with the weeds, harvests are big and exciting, and the long haul towards winter begins. Etc. Etc. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

October is often one of the best months. The weather is beautiful, the crops are still rolling, and all of the sudden there emerges just a tiny amount of relaxing flexibility—friends emerge, day hikes become possible again, the work fog begins to clear and reflections emerge. Looking back on it, the season feels like swimming out to sea—I set out full of strength and excitement, I'm strong and impulsive so we go too far—just as far as humanly possible—and it starts to feel hard, too hard, muscles ache and the shore is oh so far away. Finally, finally we turn around and it feels impossible to get home, but soon the shore rises on the horizon and my strength returns. By the time I flop down panting on the beach in the sunshine it feels like the whole trip was a great idea—I take a long nap in the sand and before you know it I'm up and ready to swim again... 

Maybe it's masochism, or maybe it's just the entrepreneurial spirit combined with a real physical desire to work with the land. I don't know... but I do believe this cycle will be somewhat true every year; it seems to be the nature of the business. However, in order to not just survive, but "thrive" as they say, we do need to get to place where the swimming trip isn't so dramatic. 

This year, for the first time, I think we might be heading in that direction. Here are a few reasons why:

  • This year there were fewer peaks and valleys. Our peak summer sales were not as impressive this year as last year, but we did much better in the spring and fall. Thanks to some better planning and new crops, this spring we came out of the market gate with a lot of variety and high value options (strawberries!). Similarly, this fall (for the first year yet!!) we have plenty of storage crops to get us through the market season and into the winter (yay sweet potatoes!!). 
  • We're not reliant on any one crop or market venue. We had a bad tomato year. Last year, that would have significantly hurt our overall sales performance. This year, we had so many other strong crops that the loss of a key cash crop like tomatoes didn't have a huge impact on our overall financial success. Looking through the data, there is no one crop that makes up more than 8% of our total sales, and the overwhelming majority make up only 0-4% of sales. This means we have a really diverse portfolio which will protect us from major failures in any one area. Further, we are really evenly split between our farm share, wholesale, and market sales venues. This distribution provides even more protection from potential changes and challenges in the future. 
  • Winter growing helps spread the love. While winter growing is not my favorite—it's too cold for me out there!—it has proven an incredibly helpful tool for invigorating spring sales and carrying out a stronger fall. Keeping customers in the habit of buying from us all year (even at a significantly reduced rate) really helps mitigate loss in the spring. Without winter growing, it takes several weeks if not a full month to get customers back into the habit of buying veggies every week. 

All of these things help me to believe that we may be able to (eventually) find a sustainable path for this farm. I don't think we're there yet (it's still way too hard and we really aren't making any money...) but we might be learning something; we might be on a path that could work.       


The half way point

It's that time of the year again... Summer is in full swing, I'm exhausted, over-committed, the "must-do" lists are pilling up, and I can't stop thinking about what comes next. 

This isn't a new feeling, but every year it has a new flavor. The first year I started the business it was a feeling of dread: "how on earth am I going to keep it together for the rest of the season?? This job is impossible!". The second year it was: "holy moly I've grown too fast. This is too much, there's no way we can keep this up". This year it's more like: "wait, I thought I was supposed to have learned something about this business, why is it still so hard?". 

So to help myself process, here are a few reflections for the record. 

  • There is a demand for what we're doing. I remain incredibly grateful and surprised at how appreciative, supportive, and forgiving our customers are. People need and want good food and they respond well to our style of growing and selling. Even when I feel like we're not doing our best you all buoy my spirits by showing up to market week after week. This keeps me going, and it makes me feel like this business has potential no matter how hard or long the days are.   
  • The model is still not sustainable. I think we're getting closer every year, but we're not there yet. I have this elusive vision of a farm business that can support a family. We will do it through a diverse set of activities which, combined, should be able to provide enough income without too much work—I mean, 12 hours a day in the summer is cool, but 15 is too much. After all, I'm going to get old one of these days... So how do we make it work? 
  • We're doing too much. To date my strategy for achieving the elusive sustainability goal has been to just throw everything out there and see what sticks—farm share meets markets, meets farm camp, meets farm dinners, and educational tours. Now let's add chickens and sheep and maybe beef? But what about the flowers and the events and the weddings? There just aren't enough hours in the day. And, as a result, things start to slip—beds are are not weeded on time, the bug pressure escalates, the marketing projects linger.. I know the first rule in business is to focus on your core strength and not spread too thin, but my dreams are big and the financial challenges are real. So how and what to we pare back? 
  • I'm not giving up. My two true problems are impatience and unrealistic expectations. This is only our third year in business. Most businesses take 5 years before breaking even—we've been in the black since the first year. We have room to grow, experiment, and shift our strategies. Even with this season's particular setbacks we're still meeting our financial goals, and there's no reason to believe that the rest of the season won't be just as positive. 

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts and dreams to put down as the season progresses, but for now there are chickens to feed and family to enjoy... it is Sunday after all :). 


We did it! Year one of Thornfield Farm strawberries is a wrap. 

Strawberries are a new and significant crop for the farm. We are growing strawberries on an annual schedule—planted in the late summer/fall, over-wintered, and pushed to an early harvest in May. I stole this strategy from our friends at Six River Farm in Maine, where I learned everything I know about farming, and it worked really well for us this year. Of course, there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns and we will do some things differently next time, but I have to say, on the whole it was a great success! 

So in honor of our first solid year as berry growers, here's a recap of our efforts and some learnings for next year. 

The harvest:

  • Our first berries came in the third week of April—we ate a few as a family and sold the first few pints at our Saturday market on April 22nd 
  • The berries produced steadily for 5 full weeks 
  • In total we harvested and sold 804 pints grossing almost $3,500
  • The berries peaked in their fourth week bringing in 223 pints. 
  • Heading into the 6th week we expect there will be a few berries on the plants, but we'll just keep em' around for the family members to munch on—it's time for the team to move on to harvesting our summer crops! 

The expenses:

  • Last fall we bought 1,000 plants at $.35 a plant costing a total of about $400 after transport
  • We spent another $500 or so in labor, including planting, preparing beds, weeding, and covering the berries through the fall and winter
  • Harvesting was by far the largest expense in the operation. To keep up with the fruit we harvested three times a week. Three of us picked for an anywhere from an hour and three hours each harvest leading to an estimated $1,000 labor expense on the whole 5 week harvest
  • in total the berries cost about $2,000 to produce

The results:

  • For the whole crop we netted approximately $1,500 this spring
  • We also benefitted from the intangible profit of having such a desirable crop available so early in our season. It is challenging in the early spring to produce really exciting crops—I mean, we all love lettuce, but it's got nothing on a sweet, juicy berry! 
  • It's a short and sweet season, but definitely worth the effort!!

But, those are just the numbers. We also learned a ton (and suffered from some of the lessons learned), so here's the list of what we found and what I hope to do better next year: 


  • Different varieties produce very different results! We grew two varieties this year; Sweet Charlie and Chandler. The Sweet Charlies came in first, and they are incredibly sweet and delicate. The berries are on the smaller side and they have a tendency to be a bit deformed, but the flavor is unbelievable. The Chandlers were much more productive, came in a bit later, and could be a little too tart in flavor if harvested too early. Also, the Chandlers seemed to get sweeter and more complex in flavor as the season went on, particularly with more rain/irrigation. 
  • Covering is a mixed-bag. We tried a number of covering/forcing strategies to help the plants bloom more prolifically and earlier. These efforts came with very mixed results. One half of our plants were protected with row cover all winter. These berries were also in a slightly warmer location. As a result they produced more blossoms much earlier in the season. They also suffered much more significantly from the late frost we had in March—I estimate we lost about a third of our harvest potential from those plants from that frost. After the frost we covered this first, warmer section of berries with a low tunnel system that had them under greenhouse plastic very close to the plants. Ultimately, these plants were not nearly as healthy as the other patch. I think the combination of the frost and the following intense heat put stress on the plants and allowed the pests (we had a real irritating infestation of spider mites) to spread more rapidly.

In the upper field we had a separate planting that turned out much better. This planting was neglected all fall/winter and as a result did not have nearly as many blooms affected by the March frost. We also mulched the area with straw, which I think slowed the plants a bit but helped them develop more blooms in the long run. In this upper planting we experimented with a DIY hoop house. This tunnel was about 7 feet high at the center and covered two of the three beds. In the beginning it did seem to be making a difference—those plants seemed to bloom more, earlier. However, by the end all of the plants were producing pretty equally and I'm not sure it made a huge difference.

  • Rain? We had a ton of rain toward the end of the season. At that point we had taken all of the covers off of all the plants and just let the chips fall as they would. I was surprised that the berries held up as well as they did. I feared that the rain would cost us a significant portion of the harvest, and we did lose some to rot/damage. But, overall we still raked in a lot of fruit. Also, particularly for the later variety (the Chandlers), the excess moisture seemed to enhance the flavor. So... I don't really know what the lesson is there, but the berries are certainly tougher than I feared! 

Looking ahead:

  • We're going to grow our own plugs! Both of the varieties turned out to be great in different ways, so we are going to allow our mama plants to "runner out" and transplant these baby strawberries into a new location. 
  • We're going to buy in some new varieties as "bare-root" plants. Last year we wanted to plant them much later in the fall so there were no bare roots available, but since we're also transplanting some of our own this year we should be able to do them all in-sync. 
  • We're going to cover half the crop (the later berries) in straw mulch over the winter and let them come on more slowly. The other half we'll cover well in the winter and be much more mindful to protect them from frost when they bloom in the early spring! 

Here's to another great berry harvest in 2018! 


Building a homestead

I never thought I would be one of those people who had farm animals as pets. I never thought I would be one of those people who named a farm animal. I never thought I would be one of those people who welcomed strangers into my home to enjoy a virtual petting zoo. And yet.... 

This past year Alex and I moved into a precious log cabin perfectly situated on the edge of our vegetable fields. It is picturesque, easily accessible to the road and the barns. It has a yard built for an energetic mutt, and just enough acreage to support a little mini-farm within the larger farm.  Last fall, we hosted our first on-farm dinner and invited farm share members onto our land and into our home. Then we got 60 chickens, built a new chicken house, and moved all the hens and both of their houses into our yard. THEN we bought sheep—this really sealed the deal. We built a new barn, put up a fence and welcomed our farm pets into our lives. These sheep are an amazingly friendly, good-natured (and tasty!!) breed. So we fell in love.. and we invited more people over to visit them. Now, just a few months later... they're having babies!!!! This is definitely something we wanted—I mean, who doesn't want a bunch of beautiful baby lambs bouncing around??? Well, we weren't prepared for just HOW cute they would be...they're really cute. Also, I didn't realize how much the animals would contribute to the fullness and joy of our lives. Waking up in the morning to let the sheep out and then drinking my coffee while they leap around in the grass outside of our window really does complete my imagined dream of the perfect pastoral scene. 

Don't be mistaken, we are really looking forward to reaping the rewards of our sheep labor in the form of delicious meat next year. Fundamentally we believe in raising meat humanely for harvest. These St Croix sheep would not exist in Virginia (or anywhere in the US) if they weren't being raised for meat—that is their purpose here. As such, it is not a contradiction for me to raise these animals as pseudo-pets, snuggle with them as babies, and carry them through their lives as best we see fit. Further, we want to invite our community in to witness this process and "meet your meat," as they say.   

SO, of course we must invite everyone out to share this idyllic spring, right?? Yes. Ergo... the new little on-farm market we're hosting Tuesday afternoons. I know it's a trek for most of our customers, and I don't have expectations of making big bucks at this stand. But, just 3 weeks in I can already feel the love of our little home reverberating out through friends and farm share members. It's just impossible not to enjoy sharing the cute hops and snuggles of a baby lamb, and an errant, rogue chicken, and our new perennial flower beds, and (of course) our nourishing vegetables.

I guess, it turns out, I am one of those people :)  


Maybe it's the wind, maybe it's the unseasonably warm temps, maybe it's all of the new baby seedlings bursting forth with new life in the greenhouse—I don't know, but I have to admit to some vaguely overwhelming small-business-owner anxiety this week.

What if no one wants to buy our produce? What if we can't grow enough? What if my assumptions are wrong and all of the new plans for this year fall flat? Eek!

I suppose this happens every year around now. Money is tight and expenses are high. I'm starting to emerge from the warm cocoon of winter vacation life. There is so much to do!! I have a ton of ideas that have been circling in my mind all winter, but now is the moment when they either have to be tabled for another year or I really need to buckle down and make them happen.

So, perhaps in an effort to exorcise these anxiety demons through the act of expression, here's a list of worries:

  1. Have I planned well enough for the vegetable production this year? I spent less time on the planning this year than I have in the past two. Largely that's because I already know what I want to do. We learned a lot last year—which was a lot more than the enormity that we learned the first year, and from those learnings I came out of this past season with a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to do with the vegetable production for 2017. So that should be good right? But what if I'm wrong????? What if I'm just giving myself the easy way out and really I should have somehow buckled down more and changed something more dramatically... It's really hard to keep hold of the faith and confidence I had last October coming fresh off a successful season in the face of a winter full of bills and an unknown new season ahead.
  2. Can I really make this flower business work? I've been circling around the goal of growing flowers for weddings, events, and florists since I started the farm. I love growing flowers and every year I get a little bit better at it. Now it's time to actually make some money off them. I believe there's a market for high quality, local cut flowers in this community, but what if I'm wrong? Or what if I can't grow them well enough? I had the good fortune of learning how to grow vegetables from some extraordinary farmers, but they weren't flower farmers. There's a whole skill set there that I'm just learning through trial and error—what if I can't do it? Also, I haven't even made time to finish the new web page for the flowers. I didn't get all of the right bulbs I wanted in time, and I haven't over-wintered all of the springs flowers I wanted. What if I'm too late?? 
  3. Should I be marketing more aggressively? We've been so lucky for the last two years—pretty much everything we've been able to grow we've been able to sell. But what if that changes? What if I've already cashed in on the low-hanging fruit of customers and this year we don't hit our financial goals? I am just now starting to advertise for the 2017 Farm Share season—I haven't wanted to push it before now because our winter product availability has been limited. But now, spring is right around the corner and I still have another 20 members to recruit in order to start the season full. Not to mention the Sweet Donkey farm stand... I know our Sweet Donkey Coffee shop market is a great opportunity to expand our business, but it's not going to build itself... I need to be out there drumming up enthusiasm. But, then again it is still February (no matter what the thermometer tells us) and we won't really begin selling in earnest until April. So... we still have time right??

Woof. I don't know if I feel better or worse having written that down...

So let's reflect, there seem to be two dominant themes: (1) I might be wrong about everything. (2) I'm running out of time. 

What my sage advisors say to those two assumptions: (1) "relax everything's going to be fine. (2) You're doing great, you've done great, you have plenty of time." So... do I believe them??

Perhaps I should just put the pen down and focus on enjoying my nieces—what balm is there like the laughter of babies?   

Bye bye roosters

We killed the roosters this weekend. 

Finally! I've been waiting to do in these roosters since they first showed up on the farm. (Yes, it was my fault that I ordered the chicks incorrectly and ended up with all of these roosters, but still...).

We're farmers. We believe in raising animals humanely and eating them when the time is right. I have total respect for my vegetarian friends, but as a family we enjoy healthy local meats, particularly when they're born and raised on our own property!

But here's the thing: I don't like processing chickens. Frankly, it's gross. I mean there are some beautiful parts—one can idealistically paint a poetic picture of this creature's peaceful sacrifice as part of the full circle of life. Also, their feathers are beautiful and remarkably easy to pull. The various colors of red are striking—the lungs of a healthy chicken are vibrantly red, the blood from the neck is deeply, darkly red, the membrane holding the windpipe is a pale weak red, the gizzard is a rich purple red. This may seem a bit morbid, but this spectrum of color is a reminder of the beauty and complexity of life that we often take for granted.

The smell is horrible. I'm not a weak lady—I deal with a lot of rotting gross things. But the smell of the inside of a chicken is just not good.  Particularly, if like Alex (and me), you have big clumsy hands and rupture the intestines while trying to pull out the whole gory gut mess—yuk. 

Fortunately our foray into butchery was accompanied by my very experienced and accomplished parents. So, the whole episode really went off without a hitch; the birds met a peaceful demise, and I believe there will be some good chicken dinners in our future. 

That said, one thing is pretty clear: I don't think Thornfield Farm will be getting into the meat chicken business anytime soon! Here's a hearty thanks to my local chicken farmer friends—keep up the good work. I promise I will happily pay whatever you ask in exchange for your chicken labor!